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Reduce Utility Bills

June 16, 2008

Green Plants With Less Water

Filed under: Water — Jan @ 9:41 am

Keeping plant and a lawn green in the summer can raise water bills. This is especially true in southern states where water costs go up at certain levels of use during summer months. Some communities and cities also restrict water use times. Here are a couple ways to reduce water use and still have green plants:

Keep water around plants

  • Reduce run off water by digging a lowered area (well) around trees and individual plants to hold water.
  • Build up (dam) outer area around edges of gardens, plants and trees to keep water where it is needed.
  • Build up area around edges of lawns to hole water in area

Reduce evapportation

  • Heavily mulch area around plants
  • Water in evening when the sun is down in dry areas
  • Water early morning in humid areas (to avoid mold)

Develop deep roots

  • Water heavily 1-2 per day for two days in a row. This allows the water to sink deep in the soil.
  • Allow water to stand (wells and dams described above assist in this) so it will sink deep into soil
  • Don’t water for 1-3 days (depending on heat and plant tolerance) to discourage surface root development

Shade area

  • ¬†Use lawn chairs and tables when not in use to provide shade
  • Cover with shade cloth during hottest part of day
  • Put up temporary canapy
  • Plant in natural shade of house and trees

Plant heat/drought tolerant plants

  • Plants that do well during southern summers need minimal water
  • Put in pots if winters are long and cold, these plants will want to winter indoors

Harvest water run off from summer rains

  • Remove drain pipes to allow water to flow in large trash cans or other container to be used later for watering
  • Add collapsible hose or use drainage ditch to direct water to plants
  • Connect gardens and plants with shallow drainage ditches so water flows from area to another

A beautiful garden and green grass can be attained while minimizing water use and costs.

June 1, 2008

Low Energy Use Cooling

Filed under: Electricity, Instructional, Video — Jan @ 4:08 am

This uses some electricity, but it is low cost and portable. Running a fun is much less expensive than running a cooler. This will provide relief in the summer for those with evap coolers once the monsoons hit.

I want to make one of these for my back room that has no vents. I will have a fan in the window that will pull the hot air out of the room. I was thinking about getting a used cooler like they fill with drinks, that is shape similarly. This will also allow the water to be drained out and it could be recycled by refreezing. Plus, I don’t want a Styrofoam cooler full of ice and water breaking! I would start with ice cubes to get things melting then add large pieces of ice that I can freeze in a bowl or plastic bottle with the top cut off. The larger pieces of ice will melt slower.

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